Nat Phillips didn’t give up on Liverpool as he wanted Bournemouth loan

By on February 5, 2022 0

Nat Phillips insists he hasn’t given up on his Liverpool dreams despite being on loan at Bournemouth.

The Reds centre-back, 24, joined the Championship promotion hunters last week – and made his debut tonight in the FA Cup fourth round tie against non-league Boreham Wood.

Most assume the change, even if only for the rest of the campaign, signals the beginning of the end of his days at Anfield – with chances so rare in Jurgen Klopp’s starting line-up since August.

His last competitive game came in the Champions League win over AC Milan in December – one of only three first-team appearances in 2021-22.

Phillips poses in his Bournemouth shirt after being loaned out until the end of the season

However, Phillips, 24, is yet to consider his Liverpool as he revealed: “I’m pretty relaxed about it. I signed a long-term contract with the club at the start of the season.

“I try not to look too far ahead. Other players have told me that a career is over before you know it, so I want to take advantage of the present, of this chance to play for Bournemouth and improve.

“Things can always change. It looked like Liverpool were going to sell me, but that deal fell through – and then they needed me because of injuries last season.

“During this period I helped myself and the team and we qualified for the Champions League. But at the same time it’s Liverpool and the competition is strong and you players will come back once in shape.

Nat Phillips battled personal adversity to play for Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp
Phillips was a star for Jurgen Klopp last season – but has barely been used this time around

“It’s something you accept when you’re at the big clubs. The manager sympathized with my situation. He wanted this move for me. He’s delighted that I’m here – as I am.

As well as Klopp’s blessing, there was also a stamp of approval from fellow Anfield centre-half Virgil Van Dijk, a huge inspiration to Phillips.

Asked about the Dutchman’s influence, he continued: “He was happy for me, he felt it was a good decision. He understands the situation I’m in and where I have to play.

“Virgil, physically, is exceptional and there’s only so much you can replicate because realistically I’ll never be as fast as him. I better be as strong as him!

Phillips has joined his Bournemouth team-mates in training this week
Phillips has joined his Bournemouth team-mates in training this week

“But the way he reads the game, the way he gets into duels, the way he dominates and is so vocal on the pitch – those are all things that I can try to replicate and seek to implement. in my game.”

Either way this summer, Phillips’ immediate concern isn’t being on the wrong side of a giant slain by Boreham Wood.

All are far from having to stop African strikers Mo Salah and Sadio Mane in training at Liverpool.

That’s a serious strain on the brain, according to Phillips. He said: “The biggest challenge when I started training with the first team was how mentally alert you need to be, how mentally alert these players are.

Liverpool star Mohamed Salah has had a strong start to the season
Phillips had to try to stop Salah and Mane in Liverpool training

“Technically and physically they are elite, but mentally you have to be so sharp and aware, and you can never navigate or drift through training.

“Once you come out of a game or an intense session, you feel like you’re taking an exam in school – it’s that kind of weight on your thinking ability.

“Coming up against these two every day, there aren’t many who offer more. They’re the number one players to test you with.”